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The Europeanization of Industrial Relations in the Service Sector

Problems and Perspectives in a Heterogeneous Field


Stefan Rüb and Hans-Wolfgang Platzer

The service sector has not always received the attention it merits in industrial relations research when set against its enormous economic significance. One factor in this is certainly the highly diverse nature of services. Research attention has also lagged behind long-standing processes of transnationalization undertaken by service sector companies and the challenges these pose for policy and practice in the field of employment relations. This study by Stefan Rüb and Hans-Wolfgang Platzer represents a pioneering effort to remedy this gap. Through six named company case studies, Rüb and Platzer explore the scope and background for transnational employee relations conflicts and the mechanisms that have emerged to resolve and anticipate these, highlighting the complex relationships between employee representatives, management and trade unions.
The choice of case studies aims to capture a broad range of service sector employment, in terms of both working conditions and employment relations arrangements. As well as covering a number of key sectors, the choice of home countries of the selected firms also aims to capture the impact of national influences for the main industrial relations models in Europe. Overall, the study offers insights into the complexities of the Europeanization of company-level industrial relations in a dynamic field now also confronted by the convulsions unleashed by the Eurozone crisis.
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Chapter 11: The service sector and the Europeanization of industrial relations: Challenges and perspectives


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The service sector and the Europeanization of industrial relations: Challenges and perspectives

Whereas the preceding chapter aimed to condense our empirical findings from the case studies in relation to the theoretical approach and main concepts used, and, as should be the case in case-study research, cautiously offer some tentative generalizations based on these, this final chapter sweeps more broadly across the political and economic environment and the prospects for our topic within this.

In particular, it addresses future challenges and perspectives for Europeanization against the background of both the successes experienced in this area as well as the shortcomings in the processes of transnationalization that we have uncovered in the course of our research.

We include in this the Euro-crisis and the policy shifts initiated as a consequence of the management of this crisis, dubbed ‘New Economic Governance’, as this has changed, and will change, the context for the Europeanization of industrial relations.

11.1 The Euro-crisis, New Economic Governance and industrial relations

Given the complexity of the crisis, the short period over which it has been possible to observe the novel instruments of the New Economic Governance, and the current state of research, any attempt to illustrate the changes prompted by the crisis in the space available here can, of necessity, only be an initial approximation. We focus on four aspects: ← 211 | 212 →

1) The Euro-crisis had prompted debates in both...

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